Thursday, June 15, 2017

Architecture in the 20th Century by Peter Gossel and Gabriele Leuthauser

I am currently working on Alexander Tcherepnin's Andante, Op. 65 with a Euphoniumist.  Is that correct?  Sounds a little classier than "Euphonium player".  The latter sounds like a rake who happens to have musical talent.  Not that there's any shortage of those.  The young man with whom I am performing is very much a gentleman so we'll stick with Euphoniumist, even if I made the word up.  

Here's a link to the same piece performed by Tubist Philip Sinder and Pianist Deborah Moriarty if you'd like to listen while you read today's book review.

Architecture in the Twentieth CenturyArchitecture in the Twentieth Century by Peter Gossel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a simply dazzling coffee table book filled with glossy photographs on every page. I don't know why the Goodreads picture has two books, mine is only one.  And it was only twenty dollars on clearance at Books A Million (Score!).  Peter Gossel and Gabriele Leuthauser chronicle the development of twentieth century architecture. Backing up to the year 1773 to show how the industrial age prepared the world for twentieth century modernism, the authors take readers through every year from the production of iron to the production of iron structure buildings, such as the birth of sky scrapers.

Much of architecture's artistic sensiblity accompanied the art world arm in arm down the years. Skyscrapers were Art Deco in the turn of the century until the Depression stripped people of frivolity. The misery of reality was averted through fantasy and in the thirties we see houses and businesses reflecting man's hope in science. Many structures developed then looked like Spaceships out of a pulpy Sci Fi magazine. The Second World War produced edifices that were meant to express power. Albert Speer buildings in Germany hearkened back to the Ancient Roman temples.

After the War, architects became minimalist, striving for homes and offices that offered clean, clear space without clutter, but wrap around glass, which allowed the resident's view to be filled with the surrounding landscape.

Rationality and reason were expressed through materials of concrete and steel. As the sixties, seventies and eighties marched down through the corridors of time, architects combined the rationality of the early half of the century with experimentation and creativity. Some of the buildings are so curvaceous it's amazing they are made out of concrete.

There were many architects I was unfamiliar with, yet their work was no less profound. Japanese architect Tadao Ando seamlessly interwove traditional Japanese form with modern materials. His influence on Frank Lloyd Wright is unmistakable.

And of course we get to read about the more famous ones such as Louis Kahn, Philip Johnson, Louis Sullivan and Le Corbusier, with no shortage of photos of their work.

If you are a layperson, like me, who enjoys a good overview of modern architecture, I recommend this book.

View all my reviews


  1. I know very little about architecture. It seems a fascinating subject however. I do look at buildings and the design of building with appreciation. I should pick up a couple of books like this and learn a little.

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. HI Brian. I think you would enjoy it. I never thought about it until a few years ago. My sister is an architect and she has gotten me interested through her own work. Have a good weekend.

  2. very nice romantic piece that works well for two such different instruments; it should sound even better with the higher pitched euphonium, i think... maybe it's me, but i thought the tuba was a bit sharp...
    and what varied tastes you have... architecture is an unknown dimension to me; i recognized some of the names and the basis of changing artistic approaches was of interest... much to be learned there...
    the latest on the kitchen opera: still not there; i had to take up the floor because it was voc-ish also; we ordered new flooring but the store took our money but then said it didn't have what we liked in stock: bait and switch? we'll see... and all the smelly cabinets and counters are in the garage moldering away; we'll probably end up donating them to habit for humanity; meanwhile we can't find viable replacements; we'll have to make decisions soon as we're getting very tired of spending all our time in the living room with the kitchen area bare and nonfunctional... to say nothing of having no way to cook except the microwave... and washing dishes in the bathroom... sigh; had to complain to someone, sorry...

  3. Hi Mudpuddle. Glad you enjoyed the work; I thought you would.

    As I was telling Brian. I wasn't all that interested in architecture until a few years ago. Now I love looking at the various styles.

    I'm sorry to hear about your kitchen saga. I feel your pain. In some of the home improvements we've had it was such a head ache: finding honest contractors, then finding dependable contractors etc..and then the bait and switch grrr...we had contractors tell us that they only make these kind of improvements not the type we want...yada,yada, yada...

    We want to update our kitchen but reading of your plight makes me dread it.

    Also, I was reading a story that took place in a hospital. They mentioned formaldehyde and I thought of you.

    Be strong! Hold out!


I welcome comments from anyone with a mutual interest in the subjects I written about.